Being a parent has changed how we think about things. We’re more mindful. We want things to be more meaningful. We want to raise children who know why we celebrate the holidays we celebrate. Children who are passionate about justice, humility, and mercy.
As Advent approaches, we’ve done a lot of reflecting on how we want to celebrate Christmas this year and in the years to come. Doing things the way we’ve always done it just won’t cut it anymore. It’s hard to deny that Christmas has become way too commercialized and gotten incredibly out of hand. This year, stores were trying to get us to spend money on Christmas even before Halloween had come and gone!
We don’t want to give and receive a bunch of stuff that no one will ever really use. We don’t want to spend money at big name stores knowing that the profits won’t be used to help anyone who really needs it.
So this year, we’ve decided that we will use Christmas to focus on giving to others. On Christmas day, the three of us will wake up, share Christmas breakfast, read the Christmas story, maybe watch The Nativity Story, and then bundle ourselves up and head out to the streets of Atlanta to spend time with those won’t wake up to a warm breakfast.
And this year, we’ve created a different kind of Christmas list. We’re calling it our Grown-up Christmas List. Instead of a list of “stuff” that we’d like, it’s a list where each gift gives twice. Some call this alternative giving but we’re calling it generous giving. We want to receive gifts that will make a difference.
Here’s what’s on our Christmas list this year…
ELCA Good Gifts
With gifts costing as little as $10 and going all the way up to $3,000, there is something for everyone in this catalog. We know the ELCA does great things with their money and would be honored to receive any gift from this catalog. Plus – there’s just something so cute about receiving the gift of baby chicks!!
Compassion Gift Catalog
We sponsor two children through Compassion and it is an organization that is near and dear to us. Knowing that other children and families are being provided for is something that would make us very happy this Christmas.
Global Exchange Gift Membership
This organization spends a lot of time and money working for justice and equality all around the world. We try our best to stick to fair trade coffee and chocolate, and Global Exchange has some of the best! We would love a gift that provides for others in this way.
Our church always has multiple angel trees. If I had the means, I’d take every ornament off them and buy everything on their list (and more). There are so many people in need of things we often take for granted – a warm coat, clean socks and undies, a blanket with no holes. We would love for people to take an extra angel off their church’s angel tree and use the money they would spend on us to buy that person whatever they need.
And then we know there are some people who, for whatever reason, just don’t feel right about getting us a gift from this list. People who want something to wrap. People who want to provide for us the things that we need or want. We’ve asked some of those people for a gift membership to various places – things that we will use, as a family, throughout the year. But what we’d really love is for those people to spend wisely. To purchase gifts for us from places that will support those in need. Ten Thousand Villages, ISanctuary, & Made By Survivors are three of our favorite places to shop for gifts.
But – if you must shop at big name stores – Target, Macy’s, Home Depot and the like – please … please … do it through Pure Charity. We are. And we’re saving our rewards and will donate them to help build an orphanage. By shopping online, through Pure Charity, we are making sure that every gift we give this year gives twice.
We hope that our grown-up Christmas list can help take back the meaning of Christmas. We hope it will help us, and those giving to us, remember that Christmas really is about God’s extravagant generosity and grace – and not about receiving a bunch of stuff.
What’s on your Christmas list this year?
It’s Generous Tuesday, ya’ll! Let’s spread the word!